By Michelle S. Lazurek, Crosswalk.com
When I was a little girl, my dad worked as an architect. He left for work by the time I got up in the morning, and he wouldn't come home until at least dinnertime. As much as my dad was there for me throughout my childhood, he communicated the message that work was the most important thing in life. My dad would often comment on the long hours he'd worked to provide for his family. While there is nothing wrong with providing for your family, a career can be something that can easily consume us if we're not careful. We can easily make an idol out of a career and reduce it to just making a paycheck and not changing the world for the better. While there are some instances where we need to do that, God says we can live a life of purpose. In fact, God tells us even our work can be an act of worship. Colossians 3:23 says, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.” Whatever we do, we know God is for us. Perhaps your career is first in your life. Perhaps you feel stuck like you're not going anywhere in life, or that you work so many hours you're missing the precious moments in life.
It is hard to seek an equal balance between work and life. However, when we live out our life’s purpose without having to work so hard, we won’t miss out on the milestones of life. Here are five prayers to move the mountain of career in your life:
Lord, Help Me Discover My Passions
Sometimes people jump into jobs simply because they make a lot of money or because they are of interest to them. But is it what you are truly passionate about? List some of the things you're passionate about. Are you interested in helping others? Are you interested in enhancing people's health and well-being? Are you good with numbers? Is money and helping people secure our financial futures something that interests you? Sometimes we jump into positions out of obligation of wanting to provide for a family with a big paycheck. If you find you're in the wrong job, a career change might be needed. Pray and ask God to show you what job is right for you when the time is right. God can do anything and finding you a job is nothing compared to all the great miraculous things he can do. Leave your job to him and he'll find you something that not only earns a paycheck but also feels like it's not work at all.
Lord, Help Me Re-Prioritize Work
Work can become the primary focus because we spend the most amount of our time at work. Genesis 3, however, gives us a contradictory view of this idea. Normally, we work Monday through Friday and then rest on the weekends. We easily find Monday comes too quickly and we're too tired. However, Jesus worked from a posture of rest. He didn't work hard and then choose to rest. Jesus came from a posture of rest from knowing scripture and time with his father. This helped him do his work with purpose. We may find our job daunting and overwhelming rather than life-giving. If this is the case, it may be time to change jobs.
Third, Let Me Not Keep Up with Joneses
Sometimes we become obsessed with getting the next toy or keeping up with the neighbors but that is not what God intends for us. God offers us a life of simplicity. Yet, we often work too many hours so that we can get the next big thing in our lives to feel significant or important. Figure out what your emotional needs are and how work fits into them. Are you working simply to fill your own needs, or are you working to make a difference in the lives of your family and your community? It's important to work with purpose but also to feel like you're making a difference in others’ lives. If you work only to get a paycheck, you will find at the end of your career, that work had less importance than you thought it did. It’s better to look upon your life knowing that you made a difference and changed the world for the better, rather than just padding your pocketbook.
Help Me Become Anchored in the Word
This may sound simplistic, but it is important to be anchored in the word of God. Focus on the promises of God and what he has to say about you. Do you find your work is a substitute for God's promises for identity and worth? Do you find your worth and identity in your work? In this volatile world we live in, your career could be here today and gone tomorrow. Don't allow your identity to be centered around how much money you make or how prestigious your job is. If you work with purpose and intention, it won’t feel like work at all.
In difficult times, Jesus clung to the word of God. It was his only defense against Satan’s temptations in the difficult season of fasting he was in. In the same way, we should take this example of Jesus. If we are anchored in the Word so will the people who love us. Meditate on scriptures that have the most meaning to you that communicate that life is not all about money. Do a word study on how God views money. Place bible verses on index cards around your home to remind yourself that life isn't all about making money. This will remind you of the real priceless things in life and help you prioritize accordingly.
Lord, Help Me Be a Light in My Community
Volunteer your time. Although work may take up a lot of your time, that is time you can’t get back. However, it's important that we work knowing our lives have meaning rather than nothing at all. Find a shelter, pantry, or other local organization that could use your help. It may not be possible for you to change your job, but it’s possible for you to still live with purpose. All it takes is for you to spend the free time you have within the purpose you outlined when you focused on your passions. Figure out the amount of time you have left in the day and spend one less hour working and one more hour volunteering your time. Go back to the list you made in step one regarding all your passions. Are there places where you can donate your time to help fulfill your passion for making the world a better place? Find out what that is and do it.
Although society rewards people who are super busy, the reality is life is short. People matter. Spend time with your loved ones, volunteer your time, work less, and work out of your passions and you'll find work is not something to be endured but rather something that is life-giving and helps you thrive rather than simply survive. Work within God’s purpose and it will feel like you haven’t worked a day in your life.
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Rawpixle
Michelle S. Lazurek is a multi-genre award-winning author, speaker, pastor's wife, and mother. She is a literary agent for Wordwise Media Services and a certified writing coach. Her new children’s book Who God Wants Me to Be encourages girls to discover God’s plan for their careers. When not working, she enjoys sipping a Starbucks latte, collecting 80s memorabilia, and spending time with her family and her crazy dog. For more info, please visit her website www.michellelazurek.
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